PETALING JAYA: Boosted by the prospect of participating in the Myanmar SEA Games, national backup shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin rallied from a slow start to check into the second round of the Korean Open GP Gold in Jeonju City on Tuesday.
World No. 65 Iskandar, who was given the nod ahead of an underperforming Liew Daren for the SEA Games, was not at his best as he was taken the full distance by Asian Junior runner-up Jeon Hyuk-jin of South Korea before winning 22-20, 17-21, 21-18.
The lanky shuttler, who himself was an Asian Junior runner-up in 2009, will surely need to step up his game if he is to shoulder Malaysia’s medal hopes in Myanmar alongside world No. 17 Chong Wei Feng.
Iskandar, who reached the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open GP Gold in May, will next face Thailand’s Parinyawat Thongnuam in the second round.
And singles coach Hendrawan believes that Iskandar will only get better from here.